We are hearing the whispers “The housing market is recovering”! In our area, we believe this to be particularly true. Sacramento was one of the first to feel the meltdown, so naturally, we would be one of the first to see some hope of recovery.
Now the question becomes, what, exactly, does the word “recovery” mean? Evidently, the answer to this depends on your perspective and the amount of optimism you choose to insert into the equation.
Buyers see this as a possible loss of power. As the housing market grows in strength, it may be assumed that buyers will see a loss in their ability to negotiate a “deal”. Many first time home buyers feel they have hit the mother lode with a combination of foreclosures and short sales, low interest rates and the federal tax credit. As the housing market begins to return to normalcy, the government will no longer see the need to stimulate the market or continue lower interest rates. There is a growing belief that the market has the ability to absorb the remaining foreclosures without the once-touted “wave”. If ever there was a time to get off of the fence to take advantage of a great market, this is certainly it!
Sellers hear “recovery” and instantly assume this translates into their equity growing once again. While we certainly see an inventory that would appear to give sellers a stronger negotiating ability, this is not translating into an increase in equity. The “recovery” that is being bantered about is really more of the beginning of a stable market. Homes that are believed to be the “best house at the best price” are selling fairly quickly and at close to the asking price. Note, however, the words “best price”. Sellers must be competitive in their pricing to appeal to the “deal” buyers are looking for. The result is equity being put into a holding pattern for the foreseeable future. While sellers can be relieved that they are no longer seeing their equity decrease, they should not look to the near future for equity gains.
Recently in discussing the possibility of putting their home on the market, the seller asked, “What if I wait a year…can I expect to get $100,000 more?” This question was raised on a $300,000 home. Simply put, it will many years before this home can see that kind of gain. The suggestion was to either sell now or rent the home for 5 years and then review the market value of the home.
When discussing “recovery” be certain that it is very clear what that word means. We got to this place in the housing market through years of “if you fog a mirror, we will give you money” loans. It will take us years to return to a normal market. The word “recovery” just may be a term that would better be replaced with “we are at the intersection and are starting the journey towards normalcy”.